If you asked most parents, they would have a children’s multivitamin somewhere in their home. Whether their child takes it daily or when mom or dad remembers is a whole other story. While a multivitamin can help provide a child with the nutrients they need, there is actually more to it than just purchasing the first multivitamin you see or the one with cute packaging on the shelf at Target.
The vitamin industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. This means that some companies will often use cheap ingredients to increase their profits. There’s also the fact that not all children need to be taking a multivitamin in the first place. A supplement is just that – a supplement. A multivitamin supplements a healthy diet of fruits, veggies, and other whole foods. Keeping that in mind, taking a multivitamin shouldn’t be an excuse to eat more junk food. These are all important factors to evaluate others when deciding on a children’s multivitamin. Let’s jump in to discuss these and more.
Does My Child Need a Multivitamin?
There are many reasons why your child may or may not need a multivitamin. It’s an important topic to discuss with your doctor to make sure you’re taking any heath concerns into account. If your kid is a particularly picky eater, a children’s multivitamin may be an important way to make sure they’re getting the right nutrients. Children with dietary restrictions due to allergies or other issues may also need a multivitamin. If you do not have access to high quality whole foods, it may also be important to give your child a multivitamin.
Even if your child eats a well rounded diet that includes a wide variety of multicolored fruits and vegetables, meats, grains, and dairy, they might still need a multivitamin. That’s why it’s best to discuss it with your doctor, as your child may have a specific deficiency. For instance, a child who is unable to spend much time outside may be deficient in Vitamin D, meaning they likely need a specific single vitamin supplement.
How to Choose the Best Children’s Multivitamin
When choosing a children’s multivitamin, it is important to look at a few things to ensure that your child is truly consuming the most nourishing vitamins. As it is impossible to list and compare every single ingredient of every single vitamin on the market, I want to empower you to go into the store and make the best choice possible. Here are some ingredients you should look for when you are choosing a vitamin.
Whole Food Source
Look for companies that source their vitamins from the whole food source rather than created synthetically in a lab. Whole food vitamins use actual foods to derive the vitamin. This means the entire vitamin complex will be used. Additionally, we know our bodies can absorb them because they are made from whole foods and our bodies can absorb whole foods. For example, Vitamin C is typically added to vitamins as ascorbic acid, which is only a fraction of the whole food vitamin. While in food, Vitamin C is a complete complex made up of ascorbic acid plus rutin, bioflavonoids, K factor and J factors, along with other substances. These other compounds help nourish the body and add in the absorption of the Vitamin C. I prefer to find a multivitamin created from spinach, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges, apples, strawberries, sunflower seeds, shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, etc. for this reason.
The molecules that make up artificial dyes can actually affect our digestion. Since nutrients are absorbed through our gut, choosing a vitamin with artificial dyes can cause problems with absorption. This actually causes the vitamin to be useless. Shop for vitamins with no dyes or vitamins that use natural sources such as beets, carrots, or other fruits and vegetables for coloring.
When choosing a multivitamin for a child, their willingness to take it is an important factor to consider. A pill is typically not an option, but many gummy and chewable vitamins that taste good have high levels of sugar. The alternative to giving your children unnecessary added sugars, is typically to give them synthetic sweeteners. Synthetic sweeteners can cause a myriad of health problems and should be avoided. Look for a vitamin sweetened with a natural source like stevia or monk fruit. These options offer the best nutritional value for your child.
It is best to choose a vitamin that is sourced from organic whole foods that do not include GMO crops or any pesticide sprays. GMO crops with glysophates can be detrimental to your child’s health. Short-term exposure can cause problems with digestion and absorption of nutrients. Long-term exposure is linked to cancers and other chronic illnesses.
Natural Preservatives or Unpreserved
Artificial preservatives like polysorbate 80 can alter your body’s microbiome and cause inflammation. Nitrates are liked to thyroid and hormonal problems in children. Long-term exposure to nitrates is also linked to cancer and other chronic illnesses. With this in mind, find a vitamin made without any preservatives or made with naturally-derived preservatives. As the research on preservatives and their effects advances, there are many clean preservatives out there that companies have been using in their products.
Now that you have some information to help you peruse the shelves, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite children’s multivitamins. Remember, what’s best for you may not be for someone else, so this list is not exhaustive, nor is it perfect. There are benefits and drawbacks to every product. What is most important is to make the best choice that you can to nourish your family.
- Wellelements Organic Multivitamin Drops
- Genexa Vitamin D drops (use code JUSTINGREDIENTS for 15% off)
- Garden of Life Vitamin Code Kids
- Llama Naturals Whole Fruit Gummy (use code JUSTINGREDIENTS for 20% off)
Whether you decide that your child needs a multivitamin or not, I hope this post encourages you in your parenting! You are doing what is best for your kiddos and only you get to decide what that is. Is there a particular children’s multivitamin or single vitamin supplement that your kid loves? I’d love to hear your favorites in the comments!